American educational organisation Amideast, with support from the GE Foundation, has begun offering a new training programme for English teachers in six countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. The programme is currently being piloted in Egypt, with additional pilots to be conducted in Palestine and Jordan this summer and subsequently in Iraq, Morocco, and Tunisia. Amideast developed the Professional Certificate in English Language Teaching (PCELT) as a vehicle for improving the quality of English language teaching in schools in the Middle East and North Africa. Generous support from the GE Foundation has enabled Amideast to accelerate the implementation of this important initiative in order to make it available to the region’s teachers, particularly in public school systems that stand to benefit most from increasing their pool of competent English language teachers. With English language proficiency linked to expanded opportunities for youth and improved business performance in the region, the need for qualified English teachers is now more critical than ever. This initiative seeks to address the severe shortage of certified English language teachers at a time when Mena educational systems cannot meet this demand and when few training options exist in the region. In a recent survey carried out across the Mena, 94 per cent of the English teachers polled (representing all stages, from primary to university) conveyed a clear need for new, rigorous teacher certificate programmes in their countries. Even those teachers with previous certification expressed interest in such training, recognising the need to upgrade their skills and improve their job prospects through an internationally recognised programme such as PCELT. “English communication skills are now more than ever a qualification that opens doors for citizens of all ages in this region. We are pleased and excited to announce this new partnership to make a real difference in teacher training in the Middle East and North Africa at this historic moment,” said Amideast President and CEO, Theodore H Kattouf.